A 35-year-old man, claimed to be among the country’s few ethical hackers and one who helped police of several states, including Jharkhand and Bihar, crack cyber crime, actually seems to have taken governments, media and police for a ride.
Deepak Kumar, a native of Bihar’s Arwal district, has used his public relation skills, impressive CV that says he is an IIT alumnus and cleverly posed pictures with top police officers to con several individuals and institutions of big money.
His dubious honour came to light in Ranchi on Thursday, when Emerald Hotel lodged a complaint with the local Doranda police, saying Kumar disappeared from his room after running a bill of Rs 35,000 over a month.
“Deepak Kumar checked in on February 15 and was allotted room No. 307. He showed us his pictures with top Jharkhand police officers and made us believe he was on an official assignment. However, when one of our regular visitors expressed suspicions over his tall claims, we mounted pressure on him for payment of bill till day. Yesterday, he suddenly disappeared. When we called him on his phone, he threatened to use his clout against us,” said hotel manager Anil Jha.
Kumar also seems to have swindled thousands of rupees out of half a dozen students of Doranda College, who came looking for him at the hotel on Friday. According to them, he had charged between Rs 14,000 and Rs 20,000 as advance for giving them laptops at 50 per cent discount under a special IIT scheme.
The students had come in touch with Kumar in February, during a college seminar on hacking where he was the guest speaker. The seminar was attended by several top police officers, including DGP G.S. Rath and IG Sampat Meena, who were photographed with Kumar.
Using these pictures, the latter had claimed to be training Jharkhand Police’s cyber crime division. He told policemen in the state that he had helped central agencies crack the Varanasi blast case. He told Kanpur Police he had developed a software to help them retrieve lost data.
ADG S.N. Pradhan, who looks after the cyber cell, on Friday denied any association of the police department with Kumar. “He neither provided any training to Jharkhand Police nor is he associated with the department. Deepak Kumar is a fraud who has been fooling people,” the senior police officer said.
Among the duped students are Mohit Kumar and Janual Abdin. “He took Rs 14,000 on February 21 from me. He even lied about having returned the amount to my account through cheque transfer when I asked where my laptop was,” Abdin told The Telegraph.
Mohit, on the other hand, has been cheated of Rs 15,000.
It is learnt that Kumar, on the same pretext, had taken Rs 16,700 from Chaibasa boy Sumit Gupta in 2011 while the latter was studying at an engineering cradle in Bhubaneswar.
Sources in Patna said he had fleeced many there, including a journalist.
Police are yet to locate Kumar. When contacted on his phone, he claimed to be at three different locations — Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Calcutta — around the same time.
“I don’t know which case and what act of fraud you are talking about. I am in Calcutta right now,” he told The Telegraph. Students were told he is in Ranchi and would meet them later, while the hotel authorities heard he was in the steel city.
That Deepak Kumar has outsmarted everyone is obvious from a Google search.
A newspaper report hails him as “a renowned ethical hacker, invited to Australia to train local officers in solving cases of cyber crime”. It says he has trained officers in Germany, has a book on ethical hacking to his credit and has received awards from several state governments.